Serious in Syria

Things are getting more serious in Syria, which is escalating into a desperate struggle for survival by the regime.  The government is using heavier weapons and more extreme reprisals — a young woman, Zainab Alhusni, whose brother is an opposition activist, was found beheaded and dismembered.   Yesterday, heavy government forces were said to have stormed a neighborhood in Aleppo, Syria’s largest city and a place that had so far been outside the struggle.

At the same time, European sanctions have escalated, with a  boycott of Syrian oil (Europe is their primary market).  Even more critical, defecting members of the Army are threatening to organize an armed resistance a la Libya.

All of which means the Syrian protest is not dying down; rather it is entering an even more brutal and extreme phase.  The regime is creating martyrs; the conflict is beginning to touch the key economic center of Aleppo; and there are early (but still minor) signs of cracks in the security forces.   I believe strong international pressures will keep these trends going further, as will continued economic slippage.  This will be a difficult struggle, but it is far from over and the odds are still, in my view, against the regime surviving another full year.

About jackgoldstone

Hazel Professor of Public Policy at George Mason University
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